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The Newsroom – Willie Pete Review: Heavily Influenced by Film References with Strong Acting

This week’s episode of The Newsroom features a large helping of film references and is packed with all sorts of excitement involving the entire cast. Jim continues to struggle with gaining ground on the Romney bus, resulting in a freak out on the bus at the end of the episode, getting himself kicked off once again. This episode gives him and the other reporters a chance to talk to a representative of Romney’s campaign, guest star Constance Zimmer who played Dana Gould on HBO’s Entourage. This of course gets them nowhere and Jim seems to be the only one in the whole crowd who is willing to speak up and ask the real questions necessary to reveal what Governor Romney represents.


In a very Jerry Maguire-like moment, he gives a big speech from the back of the bus trying to rally the reporters. He ends his long monologue in the same way Jerry did when he exclaims “Who’s with me?” Along with Hallie, who has become a bit of support as well as a rival while on the bus, only one other member joins him as the three of them are kicked off of the bus. It is great to see Jim take control in this way, and his acting has been excellent this season, particularly in this episode. In another scene between Will and Charlie, audiences also see a bunch of hilarious gangster movie references, almost none of which Charlie understands. He continues to compare Will to all these gangsters, such as Joe Pesci in Goodfellas and Al Pacino in Scarface, apparently without realizing that they all end up dying in the end.

The Newsroom

Complicating things for people at the station, and Will especially, TMI journalist Nina Howard has also come back to haunt him with her news story. She found out that he made up the story about having the flu in order to get out of doing the 9/11 anniversary broadcast and she is getting ready to leak the story, but luckily Will has the opportunity to get to her first. Will tells her the truth, claiming that it was his choice to take himself off of the broadcast and it appears that all she needed was some honesty from him, since that was enough to get her to agree to not run the story. Sloan also assumes that it is her fault that the story was leaked after receiving information from someone at a party, though we later find out that Nina’s agent is apparently responsible. She goes to Will and Charlie with this information, and to her surprise, it appears that the situation is much bigger than her; in fact the president of ACN is responsible for the leak, due to his animosity towards Will.

The Killing

The Occupy Movement continues to gain interest from Neal; meanwhile Mackenzie does not feel that this is an important story, simply due to the fact that it is not built around simple talking points. The story requires a bit more of journalistic research;  one of her younger team members is up for it, but she does not want to allow him to pursue the story because of its complexity, which is hard to understand. He even shows her a video of the coverage that Fox had presented to the public, and while she points out that they did a poor job of reporting, Neal asserts that they at least covered the story, while their network seems afraid to even approach the subject because of its complicated subject matter. Neal, excellently played by Dev Patel, continues to assert himself and stand up to his executive producer, a change that is admirable to see from his character. He even takes it a step further, insulting her hypocrisy and pointing out the fact that she walked all around the protest with shoes that cost over $1200 and is clearly part of the 1 percent. As Maggie’s plans for Africa advance, she takes a drug that appears to have strange side effects, causing a freak out in front of everyone. Could this be what led to her breakdown on the bus? 


Another one of the major news stories that has continued from last week, and seems to continue to cause drama for the news team, is the story of the war crime, which could have great implications for the United States. Due to the complex and serious nature of the crime, it seems that it is too serious of an event not to have been discovered earlier, and because of this, Mackenzie refuses to even believe that what they are uncovering occurred. She continues to press for information despite her skepticism, leaving the viewer to question her motives and wonder what she knows about the story and Operation Genoa that she may not be revealing to the other characters. Mackenzie and Jerry, who originally found the story, end up meeting with Captain Eric Sweeney, who reveals to them the story as he knows it, prompting Mackenzie to ask him for a list of as many names as he can remember. As the episode concludes, we see a number of faxes rolling in – all of them from their source – describing the events, appearing to confirm that the event in fact did happen. This episode is filled with excellent acting and heated drama that continues to escalate on a number of levels. 

The Killing

Thoughts and Quotes

— Charlie: “You’re gonna get made like Joe Pesci did in Goodfellas.” He continues to reference Scarface and a number of other gangster films, none of which he understands. It makes us wonder why he references the film in the first place. I guess it just makes Charlie look like he’s trying to sound smart and maybe hoping that Will won’t know the difference. It adds some nice comedy, of course, which is great.

— During an awkward scene with Don and Sloan we see Don trying to rig the chair in his office to move around faster, and he says, “Yeah, I’m good with my hands. I’m handy, mechanical.” This seems like a pretty odd statement, especially coming from Don. Don usually seems like a pretty serious person too, and this whole scene seemed a bit out of character for him.

— In one of many excellent questions that Jim poses to Romney’s representative, he wants to make it known that he is not being true to what he originally said and exclaims, “What new information caused Governor Romney to change his answer?” I applaud Jim for his excellent reporting and wanting to do the right thing. It is unfortunate that so many others are unwilling to ask the necessary hard questions.

— After Neal insults Mackenzie’s shoes, she replies with a bit of an odd statement coming from her character; “You’re in the batter’s box now, brother. You brought my shoes into it.” Neal accuses her of being hypocritical for the kind of shoes she wore at the protest. 

— Jim: “We can force them to answer our questions if we do this together. Who’s with me?” Good for you, Jim. Way to take charge of the bus, and maybe he will make the others ponder their decisions. It’s important for him to step up in this situation and he does so in a very commanding, impressive way. 

Rating
9.4

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